Ah, home... the loaded word. For me, this month, it meant leaving my so-called, self-established one and visiting the one I've known longer than any other. The trip fell, as it often does, just when I needed it - after a very busy period at work, and in the midst of disgusting, dog-pee-yellow weather here in Boston. I couldn't wait.
It's crazy when your little sister graduates college - I know 'cause mine just did. December graduates often receive little fanfare, nor do they necessarily want it, but I felt we couldn't let the occasion pass without tooting a few horns. So Mom and I not-so-surreptitiously arranged a little party for Amanda, which turned out to be a lovely affair.
As I often do when I'm home, I spent lots of time poring through old journals from hilarious and often painful years of my life. This time, though, a main character reappeared in the flesh - my long-time friend Catherine Edgerton, who offered to give Matt and me a tour of Durham from a local's perspective.
Catherine is an artist and a musician; she helped start Bull City Headquarters, an arts space in Durham, and plays in a great band called Midtown Dickens. We went to see them play later that night at Local 506, and I've been listening to their CD since the summer. Check them out here, and if you only listen to one song, check out "Airplane". It's my favorite, and this post's title is a reference to it.
The other friend I saw was Meredith, who you should know well by now. Why do I always seem to photograph her at Cafe Driade?
One of the most exciting things about being in NC this time around was the biking - for Matt, that is. I should back up and explain that he's applying to grad school for next fall, in urban planning. Turns out UNC has one of the best programs in the country, and has gradually become Matt's first choice, occasionally challenged by MIT. I know it's jumping the gun a bit, thinking about where we might live this far in advance without even knowing where we'll be next fall, but... Durham just seems to hold a lot more for our interests than Chapel Hill. So Matt, being the die-hard biker he is, wanted to see how reasonable it was to bike from Durham to UNC's campus every day.
The verdict? It ain't bad, even in spite of the narrow shoulders and drivers bewildered by the presence of a biker before them. And so far, NC bikers seems waaaay more embracing than those here in Cambridge who call you "sir" if you don't fit their mold exactly! Matt has timidly started writing a bit on urban planning and hopefully will cover his Durham impressions soon.
The weekend before Christmas, Jesse and Rachel stopped by the farm on their way to Florida. we took 'em on a farm tour.
I got locked, briefly, in a shed.
Can't tell you how many of these guys I saw while home. Mostly while cruising by them with the brakes slammed on.
Jesse and Rachel also helped us pick out a good (and somewhat homely) Christmas tree for the house.
That picture reminds me... on Sunday morning, we awoke to news (from a neighbor's phone call) that all four donkeys had escaped and were up the road a ways. Mom and Dad went out and lured them safely back. Damned fence.
We did a little more Durham exploring - here's the American Tobacco Complex near downtown. Not sure if it "works" or not, but it's a pretty impressive effort at revitalization.
Sunday afternoon, gloriously, it started raining. Seems everyone else was less excited about this than I was.
Christmas itself was lovely and warm and happy.
The next afternoon Matt and I walked through the woods to the old cabin in the woods that was once part of a hippie commune. It's seen better days. I can imagine it 40 years ago; it would have made someone a comfortable and useful home. I think I heard that the house even had a darkroom once, small as it was.
Back in Boston and a little under the weather, I reveled in the dwindling days of my freedom and didn't leave the apartment for almost 48 hours. Those two days weren't entirely unproductive, though: I finally finished lining the kitchen cabinet with the paper I bought from Paper Source before Christmas. It really adds some flare to our tiny kitchen.
I finally got around to putting a bit more art up on the walls, too, mere moments before a holiday party we threw the week before Christmas.
I leave you with our little Christmas tree - a gift from Matt's Grandma Dudek from a church craft fair. It's made of safety pins and clear plastic beads, and stuffed full of twinkly lights.
Christmas wouldn't be Christmas for me without a little kitsch.